Question. We are running ads on Google’s Display Network. We notice that in many cases we get lots and lots of clicks, but very poor performance in terms of conversions. Having taken your course, and aware of your book on AdWords Gotchas, we were wondering what you think about “click fraud,” especially on Google’s Display Network.
Google is relatively two-faced about “Click Fraud.” On the one hand, the company publically claims to be very motivated to fight click fraud. But if you read between the lines, there is very little transparency here. Google doesn’t give you the IP addresses of who clicks on your ads, nor does it give you very good keyword data any more. Google’s model is very much one of “trust us.”
Even worse, the Display Network is full of nefarious sites that are clearly designed to generate ad clicks, such as error pages and parked domains. Again, despite Google’s public positioning, the company seems to do little, if anything, to police the worst offenses on the Display Network. Indeed, both Google and the website in the Display Network make money on a click; whereas you only make money on a conversion. Google has a huge conflict of interest in policing click fraud, and with its near monopoly in search, the company has not – in my humble opinion – done nearly enough to be transparent on this issue.
That said, you should drill down in your AdWords report to find “placements” for which you are running. Look at these sites, and then “weed the garden.” If you have conversion tracking / goals set up in Google Analytics, you can also see the true conversions from these sites, and thereby identify sites that for, whatever reason, do not perform. Google does not make this easy, but it is indeed possible to combat click fraud in this way.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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